Bed Tax Revenue Soars in March

Tourism traffic was definitely up in March of this year as indicated by the latest bed tax revenue monthly report.  Year over year, March of this year was an astounding 19.4% up over last year.  Looking closer reveals an even more astounding 38% increase over 2009, our last “low” point over the last 6 years. In Bay County there is a tax collected on each vacation rental revenue dollar that is calculated as 5% of the total base rent rate of each stay.  This Bed Tax money is then appropriated to a variety of efforts to fund the general tourism marketing of our area.  Some funds marketing, some funds operational costs of handling the marketing operations, some funds renourshing our beach, etc.

A close look at the numbers.

With the oil spill a couple years ago, there was a lot of uncertainty as to what direction our local tourism industry was going to go. Last year (2011 season) being the first year out of that catastrophe, and seeing a 3.7% decrease in year over year bed tax collections, many were heavily concerned with how the 2011 summer would fare. Of course, we know, summer 2011 was a record breaking season, so those fears fortunately, were unfounded. Total Bed Tax dollars collected for March of 2012 were $1,769,821.69. This is 5% total of all the room-night revenue reported. Broken down by single percentage, this would be $353,964.34 per point collected. The total bed tax revenue collected for March of 2011 was $1,482,498.95. Again, broken down by single percentage, this would be $296,499.79. In doing year over year increase calculations, it’s important to break down the total revenue collected by single percentage because beginning in the 2008/2009 tourism season, 5% was collected but before it was 3%. Here is the total breakdown for March for all previous years back to 2007.

  • March 2010 – $1,539,121.49 – single point: $307,824.30 – 19.9% over previous year
  • March 2009 – $1,026,521.85 – single point: $256,630.46 – -5.3% down previous year
  • March 2008 – $813,079.54 – single point: $271,026.51 – 16.3% over previous year
  • March 2007 – $699,028.94 – single point: $233,009.65
Projections for April 2012

We’ve already offered our general prediction over the average increase projections for tourism season 2012. March 2012 bed tax revenue numbers were amazing, and if that’s any indication of what we’ll see for April, then we’re on a fast track to an amazing tourism season for this summer. I can speak for my own vacation rental company (PCBLP) in that April was certainly record breaking. We had a much better April than we did last year, but it’s difficult for me to tabulate the source as we were just getting rolling last April. Looking at average increases for April bed tax revenue over the last 6 years, we should see a minimum of 7% increase this year over last year. But I’m betting on a more dramatic increase that is founded on what we’ve seen the last 3 years, which would be a healthy 15.4%. I’m projecting our 2012 April bed tax collections to be $1,404,017.44 – give or take 3%. I love making predictions. We’ll see how close I get!

7 thoughts on “Bed Tax Revenue Soars in March

  1. Jason-do you think it’s been good because the weather’s been warmer than usual-heck I’m up North and I was cutting grass in January-unheard of!


  2. Our condo is booked solid for the rest of the year, our snowbirds will be here in October. Other than a few non weekends in September we cant take any more reservations.


  3. There are potentially a few issues with these numbers. The tax collection totals are not always apples to apples. It Depends on which set of numbers you ask for. The TDC and news herald only report the top page results. The Bay co tax collector specialist actually prepares a page that excludes extraordinary payments. These are payments that come in during the reporting period but are in fact for prior months (they are cash basis). Back/late payments have increased over the past couple of years. Also the number of tax collectors/units have changed dramatically the past few years. There has been an effort to go after rental owners that do not charge/remit bed tax. It is interesting that the increase in tax revenue from 2008 to 2012 (30.6%) is almost exactly the same increase in number of units reporting ( avg in 2008/09 12,342 units to 16,348 in 2011) 32%. Maybe they have been successful in getting more rental owners to remit or the economoy has caused more owners to rent their units. Either way I dont think we have added 4000 new units since 2008. The point is that it’s difficult to say exactly for sure that one month is higher than the same month the previous year. More investigation is required. Now there is no doubt that March 2012 was good and that April and May appear busy. Memorial weekend was packed! I hope summer 2012 is the best yet!


    1. David, you’re absolutely correct. As with any stats, many of the “facts” are actually hard to prove. There are certainly a variety of factors that have played into the increases – including more reporting rental units, increased rates, increase occupancy, collection of back taxes, etc.

      But, this article is based on a simple report generated that, I believe, gives a strong snapshot of the climate we’re experiencing – which is that demand on Panama City Beach visitation is certainly on the rise.

      The numbers, while may not be a completely accurate depiction of all the details, certainly provide a contextual basis for the growth we’re seeing.


  4. With the increase in tax revenue, I would hope that they would eventually put some beach patrols on the beach to enforce simple rules. We own three condos at Sunrise Beach Resort and love the building and area, but our last two visits in three months I have picked up broken glass bottles adjacent to our property. These can ruin a families vacation rather quickly. The amount of discarded cigarette butts has also increased significantly. Last week there was even a massive pit bull running down the beach. I see a general apprehension in PCB by local and county law enforcement to enforce rules that would only improve the area. It is almost as if they are afraid that any type of enforcement would scare people away, instead of increase our standings in the eyes of families that appreciate the beautiful beaches. I find myself constantly picking up trash around the area, which I don’t mind, but a simple presence of a patrol that enforces simple rules would be nice.

    The bottom line is if you don’t respect our beaches, we really don’t want you here anyway! A few beach signs explaining the rules, a few warnings issued, and then a few tickets handed out would get the word out to respect the beach area. Sorry did not want to rain on the parade of the increased tax revenue, but we need to put the money to some good use. Constant comments on tripadvisor on some resorts about how the beach looks like an ashtray really bothers me, as you can tell.


    1. I agree 100% Hector, 5% is a huge amount of money flowing through the TDC. I look at the NH each day expecting to see news breaking about the Bay County TDC similar to the Destin fiasco. I firmly believe that a certain portion needs to be allocated away from advertising/promotion into either beach enforcement or infrastructure upgrades.
      Certainly there is a lack of any kind of enforcement of the rules on our beaches, as you mentioned it’s like they are just afraid of offending somebody and they might not come back. The problem of the beach tents is a good example, turning a blind eye to underage drinking, public intoxication on the beach itself, illegal parking all along the beach area to gain access to the beaches. Across from our condo they just put in sidewalks and put in sod. In just a few short weeks that sod has been dug up and ruined by cars parking to get to the beach. I could go on and on about how indecisive our leaders are and just SO afraid of offending someone………….


      1. Thanks Gregg, I have 25 years in Federal Law Enforcemnet and hope to retire in about 18 months and move there full time. I think many of us need to start getting involved and asking the questions and holding the elected officials responsible to the tax payers. A simple solution is just a presence of law enforcement, this will eliminate most of the problems, and were needed enforcement in a professional manner. Most visiting families in my experience would welcome it. I think volunteer patrols would assist greatly also. We love the PCB area and just want others to respect it, while they enjoy the beach.


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